Potable water is a vital resource and water companies are consistently under pressure to provide wholesome, safe, clean drinking water. The World Health Organisation’s water standards state that potable (drinking) water should be free of chemicals, microorganisms, metals and other substances that can prove harmful when consumed. Quality water should be colourless, odourless and be free from anything that causes a change in taste. Due to this, consideration should be taken when selecting gaskets used in the sealing of potable water pipes in order to prevent any possible contamination to the water supply.
Can Rubber Gaskets affect water supply?
Historically, chlorine was commonly added to water during the sterilisation process to kill bacteria, however, it was found to produce chemical by-products in the water that were potentially harmful when ingested. Because of this, chlorination was replaced with the addition of chloramine. Chloramine is a safer alternative to chlorine, but it isn’t without its difficulties. Chloramine, whilst safer to ingest, causes a faster degradation of Rubber products. Gaskets that previously worked in water pipes wear down much quicker, meaning that an alternative, chloramine resistant Rubber was required.
Chloramine resistant Rubber
Man-made, synthetic Rubbers are extremely versatile. Monomers used in the production of synthetic Rubbers can be altered to suit the application in which the Rubber is intended for. The alteration of the polymer occurs in controlled conditions to affect the chemical and physical properties of the Rubber. The nature of chloramine resistant Rubber enables it to be resilient to wear and degradation when exposed to chemicals, temperatures, ageing and erosion caused by the movement of water as it is transported through the water supply.
Recommended potable water Gasket material
The selection of Rubber gaskets for potable water is dependent on two main factors; the chemicals used to disinfect the water supply and the temperatures that the Gasket will be exposed to. Neoprene is one of the most recommended potable water Gasket materials as it displays excellent resistance to chloramine and other degrading chemicals. Neoprene also has superior mechanical properties over a broad range of temperatures and ages at a slower rate that many of the other elastomer alternatives.
Alanto provides a range of EPDM and Neoprene Gaskets suitable for potable water applications. For more information or for expert advice on the most suitable Rubber Gasket material for potable water, get in touch.
Further information about potable water standards can be found on the Drinking Water Inspectorate’s ‘What are the drinking water standards‘ PDF document.